Friday, June 30, 2023


Leticia ("Tish") Hinojosa (born December 6, 1955, San Antonio, Texas) is a folksinger recording in both Spanish and English. 

Hinojosa was the youngest of 13 children. Hinojosa's parents were Mexican immigrants. Known for singing both traditional Mexican folksongs and her own original songs, both in Spanish and English, Hinojosa accompanies herself on guitar, which she plays right-handed although she is naturally lefthanded. Hinojosa has charted twice on the Billboard country charts and has recorded several albums, primarily for Rounder Records.

Donde Voy / Tish Hinojosa ('Homeland', 1989)

Edge of a Dream (Orilla De Un Sonar)

Tish Hinojosa - West Side Of Town (Austin City Limits)

Tish Hinojosa - Love Is On Our Side

Reloj (Clock)

Tish Hinojosa - Till You Love Me Again

Tish Hinojosa Band - Aquella Noche ( that certain night )

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Not So Smart

This isn’t about me, it’s about you. It’s about what The System can do to you if it wants; and if it can be done, it will be done.

It does begin with me, in a small way, but the implications are big. A short while ago I was emailed by my energy provider to say I needed to fit smart meters. Having made it clear that I wanted to be the last customer in the country to have a smart meter, I then got a message that someone would be round to fit it soon. I exploded with a how-dare you etc.

The complaints department replied:
‘The metering appointment booked for the 11th July shows booked by Customer using anonymous URL. This suggests that you have booked this appointment yourself I am sorry if this is not the case?’
I didn’t do it. I don’t know who did or why but I’m not after any particular individual or company and I don’t want any speculation; the point is about our vulnerability in the Information Age.

Daily we give away our data privacy, or entrust our data to corporations, to obtain services online. Regularly we read of breaches and abuses; and not just read: our bank account was hacked a few years ago and we still haven’t a clue how our details were obtained (we don’t even do online banking!)

If criminals are bad, governments can be worse, because they have far more power and their motivation is nothing so crass as mere financial greed. Peter Hitchens has raised the case of a man he doesn’t much like, a video blogger called Graham Phillips, who was placed on the UK Government’s sanctions list last summer.
‘As far as I know, he is the first British citizen to be treated in this way. His assets have been frozen. His bank accounts are blocked. He also cannot pay those to whom he owes money.’
Consider: those bank accounts do not belong to the Government. This is the State using private corporations to victimise its citizen. We saw the same last year with the protesting Canadian truckers - and the people who supported them.

That sort of collusion is characteristic, some might say, of a form of fascism; or communism if you consider similar actions in China; let’s settle on ‘totalitarianism.’ Yet this is the allegedly liberal West.

Let’s come back to the smart meter. Not only can it tell outsiders how much energy you use and when, it can be used remotely to disconnect you for non-payment. Who is to say that a dissident might not have his heating and lighting cut off if the government wishes to sanction him? What law prevents the State from doing this? How about your water supply?

How about your smartphone, used by so many for everything including shopping and travel? Imagine switching it on one day to find the screen saying ‘no service’ and all your data in the Cloud frozen, unable to be migrated to another provider? Do you think that could not possibly happen? The precedent has been set already with private banking services.

We have a choice: to see the threat and become completely obedient and quiet as mice, or to remain members of the Awkward Squad; irascible, difficult, sometimes unreasonable - but free.

Friday, June 23, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Folk Songs from north-east England

 Cushy Butterfield - Ian Campbell Folk Group
"Geordie Ridley (1834-1864) wrote this very “Northern” alternative to Harry Clifton’s Polly Perkins, borrowing the tune, but replacing Clifton’s romanticism with an altogether earthier feel. Ridley worked in the mines as a boy, but in his late teens he was invalided out and by 1861 had progressed from part-time to full-time work in the pubs and Workers Institutes of the north-east. His songs were published locally and sold in cheap editions. He is mainly remembered for two parodies, this one, and Blaydon Races which according to Steve Roud is loosely based on the American song 'A trip to Brighton.'
"Whilst as time went by, the songs and entertainment provided in music halls across the British Isles became increasingly homogenous, there were regional differences. The north-east of England developed a distinct tradition which initially at least, remained much closer to its pub singing origins."

Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny - Roly Veitch
"The composer of this most popular local song was Joe Wilson 1841 - 1875. Joe is one of the great composers of local songs. He was certainly the most prolific. His book of ‘Songs and Drolleries’ is a feast of dialect materials."

"The Water of Tyne" - Andrea Haines and Blake Morgan

The Bonny Pit Laddie

When The Boat Comes In - Geordie Folk Song ( sung by Bob Fox)
"When The Boat Comes In" (or "Dance Ti Thy Daddy") is a traditional English folk song, originating in North East England. An early source for the lyrics, Joseph Robson's "Songs of the bards of the Tyne", published 1849, can be found on the FARNE archive. In FARNE's notes to the song, it is stated that these lyrics were written by William Watson around 1826.

GEORDIE SONG Lass On The Bankies TRUE STORY from Gateshead North East England
"A Geordie song - Lass On The Bankies. This is a true story from many years ago when I was an apprentice in a large engineering works in Gateshead, North East England.
As a young Geordie teenager, I was looking forward to a bright and exciting future, totally insensitive to my previous generation who had just fought a world war to enable me to have this freedom. It's a simple story and typical of those who were affected by world events that completely overwhelmed them and through no fault of their own were left with personal battles to pick up the pieces of their lives. How must they have felt when they'd sacrificed so much and no one cared?"

Blaydon Races - Jimmy Nail, Tim Healy and Kevin Whately - Sir Bobby Robson Foundation
"Probably the most well known song from the North East. Most will be familiar with it because of its connection with Newcastle United FC. Written by Geordie Ridley and first performed by him in 1862 at Balmbra's Music Hall. The song refers to the Music Hall by name, as the starting point of the trip - "I took the bus from Balmbra's and she was heavy-laden, Away we went along Collingwood Street, that’s on the road to Blaydon.
Balmbra's is still there but it closed in 2014 after a fire destroyed the interior. There are plans to restore it and re-open as a music hall once more. Although when that will be is not known."


Would you like a phrase book for the impenetrable dialect?

Friday, June 16, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: The Modern Jazz Quartet, by JD

The Modern Jazz Quartet actually released a whole album based on the music of Johann Sebastian. There is one Bach inspired piece I recall which i thought was called The Golden Striker but that is not the one I remember and I cannot find it on YouTube. I would know it the instant I heard it, the melody is still lodged in my brain even after 50+ years. I'm sure I heard it on Steve Race's BBC programme Jazz625 but I may be mistaken. Any way here they are swinging with great style!

"I wouldn't be able to play the drums my way again after four or five years of playing eighteenth-century drawing-room jazz" was drummer Kenny Clarke's reason for leaving the MJQ. I think it was meant as an insult of sorts but it is a good description of the restrained and elegant 'cool jazz' of the Modern Jazz Quartet. They never lost their blues roots and found it easy to adapt those roots to the music of Bach or maybe that should be the other way round; was Bach the first 'blues' musician?

"Bag's Groove"(Milt Jackson),Modern Jazz Quartet in London


Itzhak Perlman with Modern Jazz Quartet - Summertime


"True Blues" (Milt Jackson),Modern Jazz Quartet in London

Concorde - Modern Jazz Quartet

Modern Jazz Quartet - Golden Striker

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Who will guard the Guardian?

… plus Private Eye and The Spectator? I look to publications like those to give me an idea of what’s really going on that’s of any importance; at least, I used to.

But when it comes to the official narrative, objectivity flies out of the window. For example, where Ukraine is concerned, ‘it was the Russians.’
  • The Russians invaded Ukraine without provocation. Even Peter Hitchens, who proves otherwise, feels obliged to say repeatedly that the action was foolish and inexcusable; I suppose that is the price for his being allowed to say anything at all.
  • It was the Russians who bombed the Nordstream pipeline, against all logic and in the face of new evidence further suggestive of the involvement of the US Navy. As Matt Taibbi relates, that story has undergone a number of mutations, the latest being that the sabotage was carried out by Ukrainians with US foreknowledge - I have visions of Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog.)
  • It was the Russians who fired a rocket into Poland - oops, sorry: the American religious Right must look for another chance to trigger WWIII and the Rapture.
  • Now it seems the Russians have bombed their own dam in Kherson, which supplies water to Crimea - water blocked by the Ukrainian government in 2014 when the Crimeans sought independence, thereby reducing the peninsula’s agricultural irrigation by 90 per cent.
Putin is mad, is one story; perhaps we’re madder to believe it, but maddest of all must be the Washington war party, playing their children’s game of ‘What’s the time, Mister Russian Wolf?’ Russia has the most nuclear weapons in the world and the Dead Hand system, designed to burn up the world if they lose.

Like King Lear, President Biden could say
I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less; And, to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
and as in Shakespeare’s play, those on whom he depends threaten the destruction of the State. Could we at least name them, question them? Where is the Fourth Estate when we most need it?

Muzzled. If the little boy who cried out that the Emperor was naked did that today, he would be held incommunicado in a supermax jail.

Better still, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of vicious persecution. The US swiftly abandoned its ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ - possibly fearing it might prove a double-edged sword in the event of a swing to the Right in last November’s midterm elections - but the BBC has pressed on with its Verify program, despite its own history of spreading fake news.

How about the Guardian newspaper (a favourite read in Broadcasting House)? It has formed an unhealthily close working relationship with the intelligence services following the embarrassing revelations of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, as Jimmy Dore explores in his recent YouTube video ‘How The Guardian Newspaper Became A Pro-War Garbage Rag.’

Turning to Private Eye, when the Ukraine business flared up I expected their usual informative and skeptical take on it. Not so, this time: Issue 1570 (April 2022) featured a series of cartoons implying that Putin’s ‘Special Military Operation’ deliberately targeted theatres, schools, women and children; one had ‘Putin Family Butcher’ stropping a carving knife in the front window of his shop.

Concurrently, Russian news sources (e.g. RT) were blocked from us and Google’s Adsense Team even forbade the expression of contrarian opinions (round-robin email received by this writer, 13 April 2022):

‘This pause includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.’

The Spectator magazine, generally considered educated and liberal-minded, has nevertheless been consistently parti pris on Zelenskyy’s behalf, again not only in its columns but in its imagery - the cover of its 27 May edition had a slanty-eyed Putin goose-stepping on a red carpet while a crafty Zel clad in his trademark squaddy top prepares to pull the rug out from under him. Putin as a despicable, malevolent Asiatic quasi-Nazi… some Russians have taken to describing themselves resentfully as ‘steppen*gg*rs.’

Then there is the subject of Covid and the associated program of prophylactic injections. Claims for vaccine injuries have multiplied to the point where the government compensation scheme has had to detail 80 workers to administer them, yet as The Conservative Woman website has shown a few days ago there was a concerted campaign orchestrated by the Government to censor TCW, which in response has added DF - ‘Defending Freedom’ - to its title (disclosure: I have written for them myself.)

We depend on the news media to see the truth for us; instead, they are guiding us on a dangerous road with the distorted vision of a bleary, cross-eyed drunk. ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ - who will guard those guardians?

Reposted from Substack

Friday, June 09, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Back to Bach

More music from J S Bach, this time for piano. This small selection illustrates, I hope, how his music can be interpreted in so many ways. All of his music reminds me of waves lapping or crashing on the shore one after the other endlessly in perpetual motion.

As before, relax and lose yourself in the music with your glass of Riesling or Schnapps or perhaps a Stein of Bier or even, perish the thought, Liebfraumilch if you feel like it!

Bach Adagio BWV 974

David Fray - Bach (F-Moll)

Bach - Prelude in C Major

Johann Sebastian BACH/MARCELLO: Adagio, BWV 974

Bach Concerto for 4 Pianos. Multipiano/Tel-Aviv Soloists/Barak Tal

Friday, June 02, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Four Maestros, by JD

Yes, four maestros for the price of none - Johann Sebastian Bach, Karl Richter and 'Vater und Sohn' David and Igor Oistrakh!

One of the most recognisable tunes in the whole of the 'classical' music canon is Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue (BWV 565) I think most people will be familiar with it but without being able to put a name to it. Such is the power of Bach's music. 

It must be more than fifty years since I bought my copy of the Deutsche Grammophon recording by the organist Karl Richter. I cannot find the actual recording on YouTube, it may be hidden somewhere but I did find this version by Richter which has the added advantage of allowing us to see him playing with both hands and both feet and all from memory too; no sign of any sheet music!

Karl Richter - Toccata & Fugue In D Minor - BWV 565

After that rousing hurricane force music, something a little quieter and more refined with another from Herr Bach which I also bought more than 50 years ago:

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043
00:00 - I. Vivace
04:14 - II. Largo ma non tanto
11:45 - III. Allegro

David Fyodorovich Oistrakh (1908-1974), Violin I
Igor Davidovich Oistrakh (1931-2021), Violin II
George Malcolm (1917-1997), Harpsichord
Sir Eugene Aynsley Goossens (1893-1962), Conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded 19th February 1961, in Brent Town Hall, Wembley, London, Great Britain.


Relax with your glass of Riesling and enjoy the music!